G.R. No. 141974             August 9, 2004
BPI FAMILY SAVINGS BANK, INC., petitioner,
SPS. JANUARIO ANTONIO VELOSO AND NATIVIDAD VELOSO, respondents.
D E C I S I O N
Before us is a petition for review of the decision1 dated February 14, 2000 of the Court of Appeals affirming the decision of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 94, Quezon City,2 which upheld the validity of the extra-judicial foreclosure proceedings initiated by Family Bank and Trust Company (Family Bank) on the mortgaged properties of respondent spouses Januario Antonio Veloso and Natividad Veloso but allowed the latter to redeem the same properties.
On January 8, 1983, respondent spouses obtained a loan of
P1,300,000 from petitionerís predecessor-in-interest Family Bank and Trust Company. To secure payment of the loan, respondent spouses executed in favor of the bank a deed of mortgage over three parcels of land, with improvements, registered in their names under TCT Nos. 272227, 272228 and 272229 of the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City.
On February 9, 1983, respondents, for value received, executed a promissory note for
P1,300,000. Subsequently, however, respondents defaulted in the monthly installments due on their loan. When efforts to update the account failed, Family Bank instituted extra-judicial foreclosure proceedings on the respondentsí mortgaged properties.
On July 1, 1985, the properties were sold at public auction with Family Bank as the highest bidder for
On August 5, 1985, Family Bank assigned all its rights and interests in the foreclosed properties to petitioner BPI Family Bank, Inc. (BPI).
On August 28, 1985, the sheriffís certificate of sale was registered with the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City.
On July 24, 1986, respondents, through counsel, wrote BPI offering to redeem the foreclosed properties for
P1,872,935. This was, however, rejected by petitioner.
On August 27, 1986, respondents filed in the RTC of Quezon City, Branch 94, a complaint for annulment of foreclosure, with consignation and prayer for damages. On motion of respondents, the trial court, in an order dated August 27, 1986, allowed respondents to deposit with the clerk of court the sum of
P1,500,000 representing the redemption price. Thereafter, trial on the merits ensued.
Meanwhile, in Branch 76 of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City, BPI was able to secure a writ of possession over the foreclosed properties. This prompted respondents to file with the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari with preliminary injunction docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 22681. On October 8, 1990, the Court of Appeals resolved to grant respondentsí motion for preliminary mandatory injunction.
Eventually, however, in a decision promulgated on May 31, 1991, the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. SP No. 22681, resolved the issue of possession in favor of BPI and accordingly lifted the preliminary mandatory injunction it had earlier issued, denying altogether respondentsí petition. From this decision, respondents came to this Court via a petition for review which was, however, denied in a resolution dated January 13, 1992. The resolution affirmed, in effect, petitionerís right to the possession of the subject properties.
On December 16, 1992, upon motion of respondents and despite the opposition of petitioner, Branch 94 ordered the release of
P1,400,000 of the consigned amount to respondents, with the balance of P100,000 to take the place of the injunction bond to answer for whatever damages petitioner might suffer because of the issuance of the preliminary injunction (previously issued and later lifted) in favor of respondents.
Finally, on August 18, 1995, after almost a decade of protracted litigation, the trial court rendered a decision declaring the validity of the extra-judicial foreclosure of the mortgaged properties of respondents but allowed the redemption of the same at a redemption price of
BPI elevated the matter to the Court of Appeals which affirmed the trial courtís decision, with modification:
WHEREFORE, subject to the modification declaring
P2,678,639.80 as the redemption price due the appellant, the decision appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED in all other respects.3
Hence, the instant petition based on the following assigned errors:
THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS DECIDED A QUESTION OF SUBSTANCE IN A WAY NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT WHEN IT AFFIRMED THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT AND ALLOWED THE RESPONDENTS TO REDEEM THE FORECLOSED PROPERTY.
ASSUMING FOR THE SAKE OF ARGUMENT, BUT WITHOUT ADMITTING, THAT THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS DID NOT ERR IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE TRIAL COURT, NEVERTHELESS IT DECIDED A QUESTION OF SUBSTANCE IN A WAY NOT IN ACCORD WITH LAW AND THE APPLICABLE DECISIONS OF THIS HONORABLE COURT WHEN IT FIXED THE REDEMPTION PRICE TO BE PAID BY RESPONDENTS TO PETITIONER AT ONLY
P2,678,639.80 AND SHALL ONLY EARN 1% PER MONTH UNDER SECTION 28, RULE 39 OF THE 1997 RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE.
The fact is that, at the time of the foreclosure sale on July 1, 1985, respondent spouses Veloso had already defaulted on their loan to petitionerís predecessor-in-interest family bank. In a real estate mortgage, when the principal obligation is not paid when due, the mortgagee has the right to foreclose on the mortgage and to have the property seized and sold, and to apply the proceeds to the obligation.4 foreclosure is proper if the debtor is in default in the payment of his obligation.5 and in this case, the validity of the extra-judicial foreclosure on July 1, 1985 was confirmed by both the trial court and the court of appeals. We find no reason to question it.
The sole question therefore that remains to be resolved is: did respondent spouses comply with all the requirements for the redemption of the subject properties?
We answer in the negative.
The general rule in redemption is that it is not sufficient that a person offering to redeem manifests his desire to do so. The statement of intention must be accompanied by an actual and simultaneous tender of payment. This constitutes the exercise of the right to repurchase.6
In several cases7 decided by the Court where the right to repurchase was held to have been properly exercised, there was an unequivocal tender of payment for the full amount of the repurchase price. Otherwise, the offer to redeem is ineffectual.8 Bona fide redemption necessarily implies a reasonable and valid tender of the entire repurchase price, otherwise the rule on the redemption period fixed by law can easily be circumvented. As explained by this Court in Basbas vs. Entena:9
x x x the existence of the right of redemption operates to depress the market value of the land until the period expires, and to render that period indefinite by permitting the tenant to file a suit for redemption, with either party unable to foresee when final judgment will terminate the action, would render nugatory the period of two years fixed by the statute for making the redemption and virtually paralyze any efforts of the landowner to realize the value of his land. No buyer can be expected to acquire it without any certainty as to the amount for which it may be redeemed, so that he can recover at least his investment in case of redemption. In the meantime, the landownerís needs and obligations cannot be met. It is doubtful if any such result was intended by the statute, absent clear wording to that effect.
Consequently, in this case, the offer by respondents on July 24, 1986 to redeem the foreclosed properties for
P1,872,935 and the subsequent consignation in court of P1,500,000 on August 27, 1986, while made within the period10 of redemption, was ineffective since the amount offered and actually consigned not only did not include the interest but was in fact also way below the P2,782,554.66 paid by the highest bidder/purchaser of the properties during the auction sale.
In Bodiongan vs. Court of Appeals,11 we held:
In order to effect a redemption, the judgment debtor must pay the purchaser the redemption price composed of the following: (1) the price which the purchaser paid for the property; (2) interest of 1% per month on the purchase price; (3) the amount of any assessments or taxes which the purchaser may have paid on the property after the purchase; and (4) interest of 1% per month on such assessments and taxes x x x.
Furthermore, Article 1616 of the Civil Code of the Philippines provides:
The vendor cannot avail himself of the right to repurchase without returning to the vendee the price of the sale x x x.
It is not difficult to understand why the redemption price should either be fully offered in legal tender or else validly consigned in court. Only by such means can the auction winner be assured that the offer to redeem is being made in good faith.
The sum of
P1,400,000 consigned by respondents in Branch 94 was subsequently withdrawn by them, leaving only P100,000 to take the place of the injunction bond. This would have been tantamount to requiring petitioner to accept payment by installments as there would have necessarily been an indefinite extension of the redemption period.12 If a partial payment can bind the winning bidder or purchaser in an auction sale, by what rule can the payment of the balance be determined? Petitioner could not be expected to entertain an offer of redemption without any assurance that respondents could pay the repurchase price immediately. A contrary rule would leave the buyers at foreclosure sales open to harassment by expectedly angry debtors and cause unnecessary prolongation of the redemption period, contrary to the policy of the law.
Whether or not respondents were diligent in asserting their willingness to pay is irrelevant. Redemption within the period allowed by law is not a matter of intent but a question of payment or valid tender of the full redemption price within said period.
The disposition of the instant case in the trial court unnecessarily dragged for almost a decade. Now, it is on its 18th year and still respondents have not tendered the full redemption price. Nor have they consigned the full amount, if only to prove their willingness and ability to pay. This would have evidenced their good faith.
The law granted respondents the right of redemption. But in so granting that right, the law intended that their offer to redeem be valid and effective, accompanied by an actual tender of the redemption price. Fixing a definite term within which the property should be redeemed is meant to avoid prolonged economic uncertainty over the ownership of the thing sold. In the case at bar, the offer was not a legal and effective exercise of the right of redemption contemplated by law, hence, refusal of the offer by petitioner was completely justified.
Finally, respondents cannot argue that the law on equity should prevail. Equity applies only in the absence of, and never against, statutory law or judicial rules of procedure.13
WHEREFORE, the appealed decision of the Court of Appeals is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The complaint filed by respondents, the spouses Veloso, is hereby dismissed.
Panganiban, (Chairman), and Carpio-Morales, JJ., concur.
Sandoval-Gutierrez, J., on leave.
1 Penned by Presiding Justice Cancio C. Garcia and concurred in by then Associate Justices Romeo J. Callejo, Sr. and Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr. (now Associate Justice of the Supreme Court and Court Administrator, respectively) of the Second Division.
2 Presided by Judge Romeo F. Zamora.
3 Rollo, p. 53.
4 Commodity Financing Co., Inc. vs. Jimenez, 91 SCRA 57 .
5 Bicol Savings and Loan Association vs. Court of Appeals, 171 SCRA 630 .
6 Angao vs. Clavano, 17 Phil. 152 .
7 Fructo vs. Fuentes, 15 Phil. 362 ; Retes vs. Suelto, 20 Phil. 394 ; Rosales vs. Reyes, et al., 25 Phil. 495 ; Canuto vs. Mariano, 37 Phil. 840 ; Dela Cruz, et al. vs. Resurreccion, et al., 98 Phil. 975 .
8 Rumbaoa vs. Argaza, 84 Phil. 812 .
9 28 SCRA 665 .
10 Sec. 28, Rule 39, Rules of Court. "x x x redemptioner may redeem the property from the purchaser, at any time within one (1) year from the date of the registration of the certificate of sale, by paying the purchaser the amount of his purchase, with one per centum per month interest thereon in addition up to the time of redemption, together with the amount of any assessments or taxes x x x."
11 248 SCRA 496 .
12 Conejero, et al. vs. Court of Appeals, et al., 16 SCRA 775 .
13 Pilipinas Hino, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 338 SCRA 355 ; Smith, Bell & Co., Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 267 SCRA 530 ; David-Chan vs. Court of Appeals, 268 SCRA 677 .
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